Princess Haya to step down as equestrian president

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Princess Haya of Jordan will respect the presidential term limits she introduced at the International Equestrian Federation and step down next year.

In a statement issued Wednesday by governing body FEI, Princess Haya ended speculation she might benefit from a rule change to seek a third four-year term.

“I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me,” the FEI president said.

Princess Haya said she was “honored by efforts” by some senior officials and national federations to amend the governing body’s statutes and extend the eight-year limit.

That was likely to face strong European opposition if proposed at a Nov. 7 assembly of the FEI’s 132 member federations in Montreux, Switzerland.

“I was first elected to this job seven years ago because our national federations wanted transparency, good governance and change and I promised a transformational presidency,” Princess Haya said.

She used her first term to modernize rules governing use of medications and banned drugs after several medal-winning horses were disqualified for positive doping tests at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

However, the FEI’s recent focus on developing endurance racing - and long-term plan to win Olympic status for the discipline - had raised concerns.

Princess Haya’s husband, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, is an influential competitor and supporter of endurance racing.

Princess Haya would also lose her International Olympic Committee membership on leaving the FEI. She was elected in 2007 through her position as a governing body president.

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